"ThinkFast: January 3, 2007"
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dislikes being the country’s leader and wishes he could leave his job. “I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term. I didn’t want to take this position,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Iraq’s Shiite-led government said it has ordered an investigation into the “battery of taunts” and video taping of Saddam Hussein’s execution. One witness reported the individual who took a cell phone video of the event was Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser.
The Justice Department said in a letter it “was not in a position” to provide documents on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of terror suspects that were requested by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The Pentagon is increasingly relying on “emergency” supplemental funding requests, using them “to acquire future weapons that normally would be funded through the regular Pentagon budget.” An army official involved in budget planning says “It’s a feeding frenzy.”
House Democrats have finalized ethics reforms that “ban all travel paid for by lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists, require the ethics committee to pre-approve travel paid for by outside groups, enact a total gift ban, …require lawmakers to pay the market cost of flying on a corporate jet,” and “prevent the new majority from holding votes open to change the outcome.”
Lawmakers in Massachusetts, “the only state where same-sex marriage is legal, took a first step toward banning it” yesterday, “when legislators voted to advance a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.”
“Only six of 75 U.S. metropolitan areas won the highest grades for their emergency agencies’ ability to communicate during a disaster, five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” according to a new Dept. of Homeland Security report.
Six months ago, U.S. forces in Diyala province “hoped security would improve” with the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi. “Instead, security has collapsed” in the area and “attacks have more than doubled in the last year.” “Violence has devastated the provincial police force and brought reconstruction to a virtual standstill.”
Incoming House workforce chairman George Miller (D-CA) is set to “undo a controversial vestige of the Jack Abramoff era” by raising wages on the Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory where sex slavery and sweatshop factory conditions have been documented. Abramoff worked with conservatives to block better working conditions for years.
“The New Jersey Legislature will move to abolish the death penalty after a report released yesterday found that capital punishment is costly to taxpayers and serves no ‘legitimate… intent.’” “A 13-member commission, established last year to study the issue, recommended in its report that the death penalty be replaced with life in prison without parole.”
And finally: Pat Robertson makes his annual predictions. Evangelist Pat Robertson said yesterday that “God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in ‘mass killing’ late in 2007.” “I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to be nuclear,” Robertson said. “The Lord didn’t say nuclear.” In 2005, Robertson predicted Congress would approve Bush’s Social Security privatization plan. “I have a relatively good track record,” he said. “Sometimes I miss.”
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.